COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs police have arrested a man suspected of stealing more than $200,000 in copper hardware from homes under construction, including several homes being rebuilt after they were destroyed during the Waldo Canyon wildfire.
Charles Dean Butcher, 48, was arrested last week and booked into El Paso County Jail on several charges stemming from the investigation, police said.
Since the beginning of the year, detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department's Metal Theft Unit have been working on an emerging crime pattern involving the theft of copper pipe, wire and brass water flow regulators from homes under construction throughout the city.
In early April, detectives found stolen copper and brass was being sold at local scrap yards by Butcher, police said.
Police began tracking Butcher's movements as the construction site burglaries continued.
On April 12, two patrol officers contacted Butcher in the Wolf Ranch subdivision after they spotted his vehicle parked in a construction area, police said.
Over a four day period, police say Butcher burglarized seven homes under construction. Two of the burglarized homes were being rebuilt in the Mountain Shadows subdivision, which was ravaged by the Waldo Canyon Fire last summer.
On April 17, police said investigators conducted surveillance on Butcher as he burglarized two additional homes under construction in the Mountain Shadows burn area.
As Butcher drove from the area, police pulled his vehicle over and arrested him.
Butcher has a Colorado criminal history dating to 1984, including arrests for assault, domestic violence, forgery, drug possession, identity theft, and animal cruelty, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.